Smithsonian Folklife Festival Goes Virtual for 2021

March 11, 2021
News Release
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The 2021 Smithsonian Folklife Festival will present virtual programming in June. The festival’s presentation on the National Mall has been postponed until 2022 due to public health guidelines and planning delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival was originally scheduled to take place in late June on the National Mall.

In addition to monthly digital programs online, the festival will offer a weekend of artisan-based digital programming in late June. Activities will include master classes and family workshops, cook-alongs and panel discussions. The festival is scheduled to return to the National Mall in 2022 with the programs “UAE: Living Landscape | Living Memory,” “Creative Encounters: Living Religions in America” and “Earth Optimism.” This is the second year the Folklife Festival has been virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was a difficult decision to postpone the events on the National Mall again, but the safety of our many visitors, program participants, staff and volunteers is paramount,” said Sabrina Lynn Motley, director of the Folklife Festival. “Travel restrictions also caused delays in executing crucial research needed to create the caliber of experience expected by our visitors and partners alike. During this time, digital programs have played an instrumental role. We realize that they are no substitute for face-to-face exchange. As we continue make good use of our digital platforms, we are simultaneously putting exciting plans in place to welcome the public back to the Mall in 2022.” 

The public is encouraged to visit where they will find a treasure trove of offerings spanning more than 50 years of performances, demonstrations, discussions and workshops. The website contains audio/visual and educational materials, articles and blog posts representing diverse local, national and international cultural practices. For the most up-to-date information on the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, follow on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and YouTube

About the Smithsonian Folklife Festival 

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, inaugurated in 1967, honors contemporary living cultural traditions and celebrates those who practice and sustain them. Produced annually by the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in partnership with the National Park Service, the Festival has featured participants from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. In addition to its 10 days on the National Mall, the festival comprises year-round research and documentation, public and digital programming, cultural policy development and much more. For more information, visit

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